Intel's new Core I7 chips surface on retail sites

Intel's fastest Core I7 processor, the Core i7 Extreme 975, is now available on online retail sites.

New Core i7 processors from Intel have surfaced on retail sites, giving early details of the new Nehalem-based processors ahead of the company's official launch of the chips.

Multiple retail sites on Wednesday were taking orders for two quad-core Core i7 chips, which are targeted at high-end desktops and workstations. The chips are scheduled for a May 31 launch, according to one Web-based retailer, PCs For Everyone.

The new chips include what could be the fastest Core i7 processor to date. The quad-core Core i7 Extreme 975 runs at 3.33 GHz, with 8MB of shared L3 cache. It is priced at US$1,129 on PCs For Everyone. Other sites, including Provantage price the processor between $1,100 and $1,250.

The new processor will overtake the existing Core i7 965 chip as the fastest Core i7 processor.

The second new i7 chip is the Core i7 950, which runs at 3.06GHz and includes 8MB of shared L3 cache. It is priced at US$649 on PCs For Everyone. The chip could possibly replace the Core i7 940 processor, which Intel plans to discontinue.

Core i7 chips are based on Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture and integrate a memory controller on the CPU, which gives the chip a faster path to communicate with the memory. The chip also includes technologies like QuickPath Interconnect that makes communication between CPU and system components faster.

Intel could ultimately replace the Core i7 chips in early 2010 with desktop chips code-named Gulftown. The new chips will be made using the 32-nanometer manufacturing process, which could make it speedier and more power efficient than Core i7 chips. The Gulftown chips will be part of Intel's upcoming Westmere family of 32-nm processors.

Intel officials didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

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